Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert E. Lee Day in Alabama

Jan 18, 2016

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preaching at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, ca. 1957.
Credit AP

The nation honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today.

The federal holiday will be marked in Alabama with volunteer service projects and parades. The Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in Montgomery will hold a birthday celebration at 10 a.m. Dr. King led that church from 1954 to 1960.

Current Pastor Cromwell Handy believes work needs to be done to keep King’s memory alive for young people. He says one sign of the generation gap is when youngsters take tours of Dr. King’s old office at the church.

“On the original desk there, during that tour, is a telephone. And it’s a rotary telephone. And oftentimes our young people walk in, our small young people will walk in, and they’ll ask, 'What’s that?' They’ve never seen a phone like that before!”

Handy says he’s not intimated by being the leader of a church once led by Martin Luther King, Junior. He says it’s his job to preach the same Christian message of love and brotherhood that King did.

In addition to Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the state of Alabama is also celebrating Robert E. Lee Day today.

Confederate holidays honoring the general and Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ birthday have come under intense scrutiny recently. However, some believe they should stick around.

Gary Carlyle is the commander for the Alabama division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He says it is important to honor the memory of these historical figures.

“You know, Lee was probably the greatest general that’s ever been in America, and there’s a lot of reasons to say that. But let me tell you one of the things that’s most important. He was also one of the greatest educators and one of the greatest engineers in America.”

The Sons of Confederate Veterans will hold their celebration of Robert E. Lee Day next Saturday at the Archives Building in Montgomery.

Regions Bank officials say the company is planning to eliminate 260 positions in the first quarter of 2016.

Officials released a statement Friday saying the layoffs are "part of an effort to improve efficiency and restructure the company's expense base." Company officials say the bank will continue examining its business model to maximize efficiency while maintaining quality customer service.

Regions officials say they're offering career counseling assistance and severance pay to affected employees. Additional details on which positions are being eliminated and in which markets the cuts will be made wasn't immediately available.

Regions officials say the bank employs about 24,000 people and the cuts represent just more than 1 percent of its workforce.

Regions Bank is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. They operate more than 1,600 banks and 2,000 ATMs.

Well over a hundred Alabamians broke a world record in Montgomery in the spirit of weight loss.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports 157 people stepped onto a truck scale earlier this month and collectively weighed 30,400 pounds. The weigh-in kicked off the 10th year of the state's largest weight loss and exercise program, Scale Back Alabama. Guinness has confirmed the event as the record for most people ever to be weighed on a single scale.

Six years ago, the city of Montgomery was tied for having the highest obesity rate in the country at 34.7 percent. Today, it is down to 27.1 percent. Last year, nearly 30,000 people participated in Scale Back Alabama across the state and lost nearly 80,000 pounds total.

Even though the Scale Back Alabama world record attempt was pre-approved by Guinness, the official certification of the record breaking will come after a review of the event documentation.